OK, so Where to now?: Reflections on Intuition and Action Research


  • Anne Burns University of New South Wales
  • Paul Williams RMIT English Worldwide


action research, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), intuition, language teacher education, reflective practice, teacher research


The role of intuition and the part it plays in effective pedagogical responses has barely been recognised in the field of English language teaching, or indeed in education more generally. This is likely to be because intuition is a slippery concept difficult to define, understand and investigate. With this challenge in mind, through narrative recounts this article aims to provide some initial explorations of interactions among a teacher’s intuition, participation in classroom investigation through action research and the unprecedented changes in teaching circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The background for this exploration is a national action research program offered annually within their suite of professional development programs by English Australia, the peak advocacy body for the Australian English Language Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector. The program is also sponsored by Cambridge Assessment English to encourage language teachers to undertake teacher-oriented classroom-based research. The two authors took different roles in the program, one as the facilitator and the other as a teacher researcher. Their narrative accounts and commentaries aim to uncover how intuition intersected with the facilitator and the teacher’s facilitation/teaching and research. As the unanticipated circumstances of the pandemic unfolded, they needed to rely on their intuitions in order to make appropriate decisions, in a way that responded to the needs of their participants and learners, both psychologically and socially. Implications are drawn out for how action research may act as a catalyst for researchers and teachers and to recognise and value the role of intuition in teaching practices.



How to Cite

Burns, A., & Williams, P. (2023). OK, so Where to now?: Reflections on Intuition and Action Research. JOURNAL FOR THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING, 5(2), 9-20. Retrieved from https://jpll.org/index.php/journal/article/view/178